Williams predicts bureaucratic Hadrian’s Wall

LIBERAL Democrat peer Baroness Williams has warned that an independent Scotland would result in Hadrian’s wall being “re-established along the Cheviots”.

Williams: opt-out difficult. Picture: Getty
Williams: opt-out difficult. Picture: Getty

The former UK Education Secretary was speaking in Scotland last night and said that Scotland seeking membership of the EU as a separate nation, would have to accept it rules of “negotiate any change in them”.

She said: “The first was that any new members would be obliged to accept the Schengen Agreement which removes border restrictions on the movement of people and goods within the European Union.

“The second is membership of the Eurozone, the currency area which uses the Euro. The United Kingdom is not a member of either, and negotiated an opt-out from both.”

An independent Scotland would have to either accept these conditions of EU membership, or seek its own opt-out which would “not be easy to obtain”.

The peer added: “Among our fellow members, there is growing resistance to any more opt-outs in a single market seeking further integration. What would accepting these conditions mean? The Schengen agreement would require Scotland to establish controls along its border with England. Hadrian’s Wall would, at least in the bureaucratic sense, be re-established along the Cheviots. The Eurozone requirement would mean a separate currency. Creating that separate currency alongside a currency union with the rest of the United Kingdom would be very complicated and probably expensive.”

The Eurozone bail-out was funded by Germany and should act as a warning to Scotland. “It has done so on pretty stringent conditions, not least reductions in public expenditure and serious restructuring of banks and the national taxation systems.”